Hummus with Za’atar

Hummus with Za'atar

People always say hummus is so easy to make, why buy it at the store? But whenever I make hummus, it’s always a huge mess: tahini seems to end up all over everything. And it takes many spelt pita bread wedges and carrot sticks of taste-testing to get the hummus just right.

But it’s so worth it, because homemade hummus is really special. You can make it as lemony or garlicky or tahini-y as you want, and customize it with spices, herbs, and add-ons like olives or roasted hot red chilli paper as I did in this case.

But the ultimate kick the pants for any hummus recipe is my new favorite thing: Za’atar, a Middle Eastern condiment made from dried thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds. Za’atar is often consumed with pita bread and olive oil, but it’s also a great add-on to hummus and other foods. Look at all these great inventions I found:

Below are recipes for both hummus and za’atar, adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. The photo, however, was inspired by Heidi’s own picture of Hummus en Fuego on 101cookbooks (they say imitation is a form of flattery?). The bit about the tahini, well, that was the one bit of this post that was uniquely my own. And both are a great match for my spelt pita bread on the grill.


Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. A great partner with raw veggies and spelt pita bread!


  • 2 cups drained well-cooked or canned chickpeas, cooking liquid reserved if possible
  • 1/4 cup tahini, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus oil for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled, or more to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • paprika for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish


  1. Put the chickpeas, tahini, oil, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor (or a blender for even smoother hummus), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and begin to process; add chickpea-cooking liquid or water as needed to produce a smooth purée.
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed. Serve, drizzled with some olive oil and sprinkled with a bit of paprika or za’atar (below) and some parsley.


Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.


  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp sumac
  • salt and pepper


  1. Toast the sesame seeds then leave to cool.
  2. Combine everything else in a container and toss together. Presto! Your za’atar is done!

11 thoughts on “Hummus with Za’atar

  1. Jes

    I love the za'atar in the hummus–great idea! I've been trying to think of ways to incorporate more za'atar/sumac into foods since I bought a big bag of sumac at Penzey's a few months ago. I'm due for some yummy hummus.

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